Apr 19, 2007

Are liver and renal lesions in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) associated with high mercury levels?

Environmental Health : a Global Access Science Source
Christian SonneMaja Kirkegaard

Abstract

In the Arctic, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) bio-accumulate mercury as they prey on polluted ringed seals (Phoca hispida) and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus). Studies have shown that polar bears from East Greenland are among the most mercury polluted species in the Arctic. It is unknown whether these levels are toxic to liver and kidney tissue. We investigated the histopathological impact from anthropogenic long-range transported mercury on East Greenland polar bear liver (n = 59) and kidney (n = 57) tissues. Liver mercury levels ranged from 1.1-35.6 microg/g wet weight and renal levels ranged from 1-50 microg/g wet weight, of which 2 liver values and 9 kidney values were above known toxic threshold level of 30 microg/g wet weight in terrestrial mammals. Evaluated from age-correcting ANCOVA analyses, liver mercury levels were significantly higher in individuals with visible Ito cells (p < 0.02) and a similar trend was found for lipid granulomas (p = 0.07). Liver mercury levels were significantly lower in individuals with portal bile duct proliferation/fibrosis (p = 0.007) and a similar trend was found for proximal convoluted tubular hyalinisation in renal tissue (p = 0.07). Based on these relationships and the nature of the...Continue Reading

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Citations

Mentioned in this Paper

Metabolic Process, Cellular
Neuro-Oncological Ventral Antigen 2
Mercury
Vitamin A
Necrosis
Laboratory Studies
Mononuclear Cells
Cortex Bone Disorders
Adrenal Cortex Diseases
Histology Procedure

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